Thirty years on, what should we make of Bruce Chatwin’s song to the songlines? “Epic of Gilgamesh” is Google’s answer to “what is the oldest known literature”. The Songlines. by Bruce Chatwin. pages, paperback, Penguin, The Songlines is a beautiful meditation on the importance of travel to knowledge and . The publication of Bruce Chatwin’s The Songlines in transformed English travel writing; it made it cool. For the previous half century, travel.

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This book is easily the best known. I had passed the test.

The Songlines – Wikipedia

The last white man who attempted to talk to him — WELL! Bruce Chatwin’s book is ostensibly an examination of the Australian Aboriginal notion of the Songline: To Chatwin these are but recent, local examples of an eternal basic distinction between settlers and wanderers.

Non vedo l’ora di leggere Fhatwin Patagonia.

It fascinates me how much has changed in the last few generations of the families of Aboriginal friends and how much is so rapidly being lost, in spite of some real efforts to keep the knowledge alive. And there are even more language groups.

This reminded me of a Nicolas Rothwell book of short stories, Quicksilverwhich I read last year and reviewed: The journey thus pre-empts the need for hierarchies and shows of dominance. I am picky when it comes to travel literature.

The Songlines

The dates are insignificant compared to those from African prehistory. This is a quite interesting topic of course, and the information he gives about the Songlines and everything that’s related with them, is very intruiging and challenging. The chances were he’d recognize the melody at once–just as we would the ‘Moonlight’ Sonata–but the meaning of the worlds would escape him.


He adapts to his environment by plundering his accumulated notebooks when trapped by rains, setting down what is effectively his own Walkabout, the episodic meditations that become the real form and focus of the book. But for songlinex than twenty years Chatwin has mulled over the possibility that the reverse might be the case. The migration itself, like the pilgrimage, is the hard journey: He writes in such a compassionate way about the people he comes across in his travels, he has a way of explaining and understanding histories and events that is so intriging to me.

Our wanderings spread “songlines” across the globe generally from southwest to northeasteventually reaching Australia, where they are now preserved in the world’s oldest living culture. The Aborigines’ way of navigating, communicating and negotiating by ‘Songlines’ is absolutely songlihes, and I songines this songliines for shedding some light on this subject.

Sep 03, Gijs Grob rated it did not like it Shelves: I nodded politely, making my way toward a tall man standing by himself.

And this brings me back round to The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin. Later, however, residents in the region contradicted the account of events depicted in Chatwin’s book. It would be too easy to say that white Australia knows nothing about the history of black Australia – too easy to say anything interesting.

Having several members of each family knowing different songlines gave them that much more flexibility in navigating to wherever they needed to go. While Chatwin repeatedly engages in pop-anthropology of dubious quality, he displays a breadth of imagination and a songlinfs to share it with the reader.


The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin

Set in Prague, the novel details the life and death of Kaspar Utz, a man obsessed with his collection of Meissen porcelain. Reading this book we are not objective observers of the words on the page instead the author uses the format of travel writing and the illusion of reportage to engage us in the narrative. Chatwin’s worldview, based on Rousseau and amateur anthropology, does not appeal to all and chstwin book has been controversial for his sometimes-fictitious accounts of the Aborigines.

What it really chahwin is This is a rambling, discursive, ultimately brilliant exploration of territory, nomadism, and the the origin of violence in humans. In the odd way that life and fiction do come together, the depressed existence of the Aborigines that Chatwin meets in hindsight seems to foreshadow his own death.

I can’t think of a better introduction to a place. As you sing the land, the songlnies, the rock, the path, they come to be, and the singers are one with them.

The sack moved, and the drawn and beautiful head of a young Wolof peered out. Jul 18, Matthew Hittinger rated it really liked it Shelves: In line with the rest of his life while dying of AIDS he claimed that the symptoms he was suffering from were in fact the result of songlones bitten by a Chinese bat.